No shutdown: $1.1 trillion agreement shows Democrats' clout

Laura Christensen
May 3, 2017

The catchall spending bill would fund government operations through September, rebuffing cuts to popular domestic programs targeted by Trump such as medical research, the Environmental Protection Agency, foreign aid and infrastructure grants.

President Donald Trump's latest solution to making policy in government: changing the Senate and shutting the government down, according to two tweets he posted Tuesday morning.

It's a sign both that Republicans are not afraid to defy Trump, and that the GOP still needs Democrats to accomplish basic tasks like funding the government, despite the fact that the GOP holds majorities in both the House and Senate. After advocating for a future shutdown on Twitter, he hailed the budget agreement as a boost for the military and border security.

He says the bill "is a clear win for the American people".

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is insisting the budget deal that will keep the government running until September is a win for the White House, despite complaints from President Trump.

Aides to politicians involved in the talks announced the agreement after weeks of negotiations.

The congressional cooperation comes on the heels of an embarrassing setback for Trump on health care, when his bid to pass legislation that repeals and replaces most of Obama's landmark health reform law collapsed in March.

The bipartisan, $1.1 trillion government-wide spending bill finances agency operations through September 30, the end of the fiscal year. The House and Senate have until Friday at midnight to pass the measure to avert a government shutdown.

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President Donald Trump on Tuesday suggested the USA federal government could use a shutdown in September to fix what he called a "mess" in Congress.

"For the first time in the history of our republic, Republicans have routinely used the filibuster to prevent President Obama from appointing an executive team and from appointing judges", said then-Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Democrats also fended off potential cuts to women's healthcare provider Planned Parenthood, while House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi applauded a almost $2 billion hike in funds for the National Institutes of Health this year. And while the bill does not contain an Obamacare bailout (cost-sharing subsidies), the White House agreed to continue illegally promulgating the insurer bailout without congressional appropriations as part of the condition for Democrats affording Republicans the honor of capitulating to them.

"We couldn't be more pleased", Vice President Mike Pence said Monday on CBS, touting increases in military spending and a "down payment" on border security.

The $1.5 billion increase in Homeland Security spending, pushing total spending for the department to more than $42 billion.

The Congress passed the federal spending bill, assuring there is no embarrassing shutdown on the 100th day of Trump's presidency. Negotiators on the pending measure, however, rejected a smaller $18 billion package of cuts and instead slightly increased funding for domestic programs. "That's not a hard question -- it's an important question if we were being asked to appropriate this money".

"That will be very beneficial", said Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo.

The news that Congress reached a deal to avert a shutdown helped send stocks rising in Asia and in early U.S. trade. Trump's request for additional immigration agents was denied and the IRS budget would be frozen at $11.6 billion instead of absorbing cuts sought by Republicans. He also claimed credit for $6 billion in war funding approved by former President Obama as a Trump win.

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